Church deacon worried about possible public art

Church deacon worried about possible public art (Reporter: Jon Erickson)

KINSTON, LENOIR COUNTY - A deacon of a Kinston church is worried about what type of art might appear near the church property due to a change in city zoning.

Gene Woody, a deacon at Glen Raven Baptist Church on Rhem Street, does not want to see artwork that demeans God or pieces that could be construed as pornography.

"Some people see it as art, some people see it as vulgarity," Woody said.

His worries began when the Kinston City Council began to consider the creation of an arts and creative district in the Mitchelltown neighborhood of the city, which includes Glen Raven Baptist.

The City Council voted unanimously Monday to approve the plan.

Now, homeowners inside the district will be able to use their residences to operate art galleries, studios, or other art-related businesses.

The goal is to encourage economic growth, according to Adam Short, Kinston's planning director.

"[The arts district] could attract new homeownership, more tourists to the area," Short said.

Woody does not oppose art in general.

Short said any outdoor art that is deemed offensive could be regulated by declaring it a public nuisance.

The city would need to approve any new gallery before its opening, Short said.

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